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Japan to Permanently Exempt Visas for Korean Tourists

Posted May. 15, 2005 23:16,   


The Sankei Shimbun reported yesterday that the Japanese government has decided to permanently exempt Korean tourists from visas.

It was reported that Prime Minister Koizumi Junichiro conveyed this policy to President Roh Moo-hyun at their summit on May 6.

Currently, Korea only exempts visas for Japanese tourists who stay in the country for up to 30 days. On the other hand, Japan is exempting visas for Korean students on field trips and tourists during the Aichi International Exhibition which runs from March to September, 2005.

The Japanese Justice Ministry has been opposed to the granting of visa exemptions to Korean tourists for security reasons. As of the end of this January, the number of illegal Korean sojourners in Japan was 43,000, the largest nationality. Among them, it was found that some 39,000 had received tourist and other short-term visas.

If mutual visa exemptions for tourists start, it is expected that pre-departure examinations, which are conducted by officials of both countries at each other`s airports, will be enlarged.

Hun-Joo Cho hanscho@donga.com